I love the iPad on about 100 levels, and plenty of vendors beyond Apple will grow rich off me. My spending on iBooks alone will keep some publisher’s kid in braces.
But I’m hoping that very soon journalists across this nation will realize they need to set common-sense subscription rates for their material, even if it’s in electronic form.
The Sports Illustrated app for the iPad is remarkable. Photos jump off the beautiful iPad screen. A touch on the screen reveals the stats related to any article, as well as more archived material. It has that terrific SI writing. And, best of all, the app is free.
But, like crack, they give you a tiny taste for free because they know you’ll be back for more. Then, they expect you to pay $4.99 per weekly edition. The print version — which, let’s face it, just isn’t as cool — costs $39 a year. Surely, somewhere between $39 and $259 there lies a more sensible subscription rate.
To me, though, SI is not the worst offender. Until recently, I was a happy subscriber to the print and online editions of the Wall Street Journal.
I considered the annual subscription to be an indulgence for myself, but also a reasonable price. Then I bought my iPad and happily looked for the WSJ app. Again, they expected more than $200 a year for a subscription to material that is certainly based on the same source material as the print and online editions. And they gave no price break to folks who already subscribed to one of the other formats.
It made me so mad, I cancelled all my subscriptions.
I worked in the print media for 30 years, and I do think that online content should generate a profit for its producer. I’m willing to pay for quality writing and reporting. I’m just not willing to pay a gouger’s rates.
I hope market demand straightens this out soon.